Responding to the government announcement today (Wednesday 8th March) of funding that will contribute to creating equal sporting opportunities for girls, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has said he is proud that the city-region took action on this last year. Greater Manchester was one of the first to call for all schools to offer at least two hours of PE per week to girls, including more football sessions.
The government has echoed this by requiring all schools in England to do the same.
In December, Mayor Andy Burnham, Karen Bardsley, Chair of the Greater Manchester Women's Football Board, and Baroness Sue Campbell, Director of Women’s Football wrote to all schools in Greater Manchester calling for them to deliver a minimum of two hours of PE per week and for more investment and resources to support female PE teachers, in recognition of the crucial role they play as role models to school pupils. Greater Manchester has been actively working towards this goal with The Greater Manchester Women’s Football Board.
The Greater Manchester call was backed by Manchester United and Lionesses striker Alessia Russo, who scored four goals at the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022.
Nationally, only 63 per cent of schools offer girls equal access to football in PE lessons, meaning more than a third are not getting the same opportunity to play in PE as boys. In Greater Manchester, 906 of 1,271 schools are linked to a Barclays and FA Girls’ Football School Partnership by England Football, through which they have access to training, resources and support for girls’ football.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said:
“I am proud that Greater Manchester was one of the first areas to make a call for equal football opportunities for girls. This funding will help us continue our work towards making football and other sports more accessible to millions of girls across the city-region.
“Equal access to sports for girls is why we set up the Greater Manchester Women’s Football Board, and why we wrote to all schools in our city-region last year calling on them to ensure that all girls are offered at least two hours of PE every week, including football sessions. If we truly want to create a legacy from the Lionesses victory last year, we need to make this change.”
Karen Bardsley, former England international and Chair of the Greater Manchester Women’s Football Board, said:
“There have been too many girls that have not had the opportunity to play football at school and that’s why I’m delighted to hear about the funding for schools and that schools will be required to give every girl equal access to sports including football.
“We sent a letter to schools last year calling for lasting change for women and girls in football and I’m proud of the work the Greater Manchester Women’s Football Board has already done with the support of Mayor Andy Burnham and the FA. Every girl in Greater Manchester deserves the chance to play football at school and the government funding will help towards making that a reality here.”
The GMCA is the secretariat for the Women’s Football Board, and the Board reports to the GMCA and The FA.
Article Published: 08/03/2023 17:58 PM